Day 372: Learning to re-approach

Today’s blog post is inspired by ….

Image

… a microwave oven. Not that particular microwave oven, which I found through Google Images*, but the microwave oven I just used to heat up something** my son agreed to eat this morning before he left for school.

So why did a microwave oven inspire the title of this post, today?

Because I noticed how I always approach microwave ovens, these days, without fear.

That may seem unremarkable to you, but let me explain.

I have had cardiac pacemakers since I was 10 years old. (As I’ve bragged about before in this blog, I may very well be the longest surviving person in the Wide Wide World with a pacemaker.)*** When microwave ovens first came out (in the 1970’s, I believe)*** they were considered dangerous to people with pacemakers.  Indeed, I remember seeing lots of microwave ovens with warnings for people with pacemakers to STAY AWAY!  “Danger! Danger Danger!” said many microwave-related signs.

Yet, I haven’t thought about that in years, and I approach microwave ovens fearlessly.

Again, that lack of fear may not seem post-worthy, because:

  1. It’s been a long, long time since microwave ovens could possibly cause any danger to me, and
  2. They actually weren’t all that dangerous to me to begin with, despite the hysteria of the signs.

However, I am writing about this, this morning, because of something I’ve been noticing a lot, lately:  people (including me) often avoid re-approaching things that remind them of past dangers, pain, or other negative experiences.

For a lot of us, our internal warning systems can be a little “off.” They might be working too hard, as protection against future hurts.

Here are some things that I’ve witnessed people avoiding, because of past negative experiences:

  • Intimate relationships.
  • Other people, in general.
  • Performing.
  • Particular geographic locations.
  • Traveling, in general.

I stopped that list because  I have to get ready for work.

I do want to tell you this, though: The more I notice my own fears, the more I notice that I can avoid lots of things, simply because of one experience in the past.  Here’s an example of something I’ve caught myself avoiding, lately:

Smiling — after I’ve eaten and before I can check myself in a mirror — just because one person once told me, “You tend to catch food in your teeth.”

That’s embarrassing to admit, for several reasons, but there it is.

Okay, I REALLY have to wrap up this post.

Do I have an image?

Check.

Have I re-approached the title?

Not really, since the title promised the opportunity for learning how to deal with this kind of avoidance.

Here’s the deal, people:  I don’t know the magical answer of how to re-approach something associated with a past negative experience (at least one that I could come up with and write about in a few seconds).

However, I can say this:

  1. Re-approaching old negative stuff in new ways takes practice, and
  2. I have figured out how to do that, for some things, including (a) microwave ovens and (b) smiling, which I’ve been doing more, no matter where or when.

That concludes our post for today.

Thanks to those who avoid, those who approach, and everybody in between.  And, of course, thanks to you for visiting today.


* Here, in a Wikipedia entry on a term I’ve never heard, “Dialectric Heating,” which, apparently is the name for the process used by microwave ovens, which reminds me of one of my favorite words, “dialectic.”  Nobody guaranteed these footnotes were going to be (a) illuminating or (b) interesting, you know.

** Left-over American Chop Suey, if you must know.

*** I didn’t want to put that particular parenthetical information in a footnote, because I know some people don’t read these.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , | 29 Comments

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29 thoughts on “Day 372: Learning to re-approach

  1. I love the way you utilize humour to pack a punch!

    • Thank you for this excellent, punchy, and lovable comment!

      • I really enjoy the way you write and your sort of sardonic tone. I am waiting for Ming to go to bed so I can have a good cry without hearing me (how pathetic is that!) Your posts cheer me up and make me rethink things. Thanks for your friendship Ann.

      • Not pathetic at all. Kind and considerate, I would say. (I’m a big fan of crying, actually.) This comment cheered me up so much I wanted to reply immediately.(even though I should REALLY leave for work now). I value our friendship here, too.

  2. AK, I can empathize with your smiling dilemma. My teeth are like Thomas’s English muffins, full of nooks and crannies. Now I’m sitting here thinking about what it is that I avoid because of a past negative experience. Great post.

    • Thank you for this great comment. I especially like the Thomas’s English Muffins analogy, because I loved them as a kid. I am so glad you visit and comment here!

  3. Nicely written 🙂 .

    Re-approaching things with negative feelings is a hard task . I used to spend my time imagining different positive scenarios about my future , I was happy .Something unplanned happened ever since I just cant get over it . I have been trying to move forward but that thing keeps bugging me 😦 . Now some of my free time is spent about thinking” that time/ that one decision ” and crying 😦 .

    • You are describing a very common response to a painful experience (especially one that’s unexpected). I am sorry to hear you’re going through that right now; so glad you visited and commented here today.

  4. Haha! I never eat before I give a presentation for that very reason — it happened to me once! 🙂

    Love this post — and I switched my fear of re-approaching to acknowledging there are triggers in things — and pulling the trigger means I get to move through the fear and then, I find freedom!

    • I am eating spinach as I am writing this comment, Louise. Soon, I’ll be using a new technique taught to me by my friend Krystal, to check my teeth: using the selfie photo option on my cell phone as a secret mirror!

      Anyway, this comment from you had several gifts, as usual. The one I really hope will stick: turning a trigger into “pull the trigger, etc.” Thanks so much!

  5. Perspectives in life do change so, Ann. I give you another chance to consider your approach to WordPress Awards. I nominate you for The Lighthouse Award, Ann, because your blog brightens my day, every day.
    http://markbialczak.com/2014/01/07/the-lighthouse-award-has-me-feeling-bright/

    • Thanks for the other chance, Mark. I love other chances! At this point, though, not sure how I am going to respond to the unequivocal honor of receiving this particular award from you.

      One thought that occurred to me: What Will Aussa Do?

  6. Wise words!

  7. I’m one of those folks who had a bad experience with an intimate relationship and have sabotaged the few relationships I have taken on since…However I’m declaring 2014 as the year that I am open to the idea of a new relationship!

  8. I’ve been re-approaching fears I’ve avoided for 5 months, in 2014, like the first two items on your list for example! It’s difficult, but it’s worth it.

  9. Funny thing, this subject called fear. I’ve recognized a few of my own, and I made plans just lately, to take steps to over-ride them. Those plans comprised of leaving this house to GO somewhere, and now, NOW???, we have a blizzard and everything is closed. How about that? Too funny! I make up my mind, OH YEAH, I’M DOING’ THIS! And we get slammed weather wise!

    OH well, there is always next week! LOL

    xxoo, Amy

    • That’s true, Amy, there’s always next week. And making your mind up is always the first step. Thanks so much for the visit and the great comment!

      • You are welcome!! Thank YOU for the visit over at Petals! 🙂 I really do enJOY what you write!! And oh yeah, the gravatar is so YOU! LOL LOVE the glasses!!!! LOl

  10. Fun post with something to teach as well. I remember those old microwave days. I know a woman who avoids them because of possible radiation. She and her family were “downwinders” to the government tests in Nevada in the 50s. Past experience avoidance issue: getting my hair cut short, but I understand the teeth thing.

  11. A pacemaker since you were ten? Yikes, Ann. I’m glad you’re kicking arse and setting world records for us now! And aaahhhh fear: What to say on the topic? I’ve let fear keep me rooted in place MANY a time in the past… I think sometimes that the best remedy is to find yourself completely immersed in something frightening–whether its on purpose or by happenstance– and then you have a choice. To let it destroy you or to let yourself realize you’re still alive. That might not make sense. But I feel like I can think back to a very specific moment when I was consumed with a very very real fear and something inside of me just broke. In a good way. Like a dam.

    • “That might not make sense.” Or, it might make all the sense in the world. Your writing makes me realize I’m still alive, Aussa. Thanks for the amazing comment.

  12. Pingback: Day 373: Guilt (and a metaphor I made up!) | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  13. Pingback: Day 423: Teaching an old dog new tricks | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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